Friday, 14th. This morning came on board Cap’t Frankland to see the misfortune we had suffered the night before, & offered to assist us in all he could. He sent his carpenter, who viewed the mast & said he thought he could make it do again. The Cap’t, hearing of a piece of timber for his purpose, waited on his Excellency to desire him to lay his commands on Mr Thompson to spare it him. He sent Mr Scott, Judge of the Admiralty, to get it in his name, promising to make it good to him in case of any trouble arising from the timber not belonging to him. Unloaded all our provisions & put them on board the prize, in order to get ready for the carpenters to repair the sloop.
Saturday, 15th. A court was called at 4 o’clock P.M., Cap’t Norton’s petition read, and an agent appointed for the owners. The Company’s Quartermaster & myself were examined, with John Evergin & Samuel Eldridge, the two English prisoners, concerning the prize, and so the court was adjourned till Monday, at 10 of the clock, A.M.
Monday, 17th. The court met according to adjournment. Jean Baptiste Domas was examined concerning the freedom of the prisoners, and his deposition taken in writing. All the evidence and depositions were then read in court, sworn to, and signed, after which the court adjourned to Wednesday at 10 of the clock. There are no lawyers in this place, the only blessing that God could bestow on such a litigious people.
Wednesday, 19th. At 10 A.M., the court being opened, & the libel read, I begged leave of his Honour to be heard, which being granted, I spoke as follows:[A]—
[Footnote A: The speech of Peter Vezian is characteristic of the times and of the privateering spirit. It gives expression to the popular hatred of the Spaniards and the Romanists, to the common false charges against the brave Oglethorpe, to the general inhuman feeling toward negroes, and to the distrust of the pretenders to religious experience during the “Great Revival” under the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. Its faults of diction add to its genuine flavor.]
May it please your Honour,—As there is no advocate appointed by this Hon’ble Court to appear in behalf of the Capturers of a sloop taken by Don Pedro Estrado July the 5th, belonging to some of His Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain or Ireland, and retaken by Cap’t Benj. Norton & Comp’y in a private sloop of war called the Revenge, July the 20th, & brought into this court for condemnation, I, as Captain’s Quartermaster, appear in behalf of the owners, Cap’t, & Comp’y, to prove that the said sloop & cargo, together with the three mulattoes & one negro, which are all slaves, belonging to some of the vassals or subjects of the King of Spain, ought to be condemned for the benefit & use of the capturers as aforesaid.
I’m certain I’m undertaking a task for which I am no ways qualified. But as I have leave to speak in a court instituted by the laws of England, and before a judge who I am certain is endued with the strictest honour and justice, I don’t doubt, that, if, through ignorance, I should omit any proof that would be of advantage to us, your Honour will be so good as to aid & assist me in it.